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Alpha Wave

Modified on 2012/10/17 21:29 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands
   Hitherto every form of society has been based... on the antagonisim of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence.

   - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
   The Communist Manifesto, 1848

   As the story opens, the companions are trudging across the plains of North Dakota. Jak, who's scouting ahead, spots an odd tower of some sort near a small town called Fairburn - which is good, because Krysty isn't feeling too well. They head toward the town and, after a minor altercation with the gate guards, are granted entry.
   THey get rooms at the local inn and ask around, but no one's willing to say anything about the tower. Krysty's condition gets worse, so she remains in the room that night with Mildred and Jak, while the others go out to see the dogfights (the local entertainment).
   While the fights are going on, a train pulls up alongside the tower and a bunch of people get out and start doing stuff around it. Jak goes out to take a look and is caught by a guard, who mistakes him for a young boy and takes him prisoner. The people finish up their work and pack up, and the train (with Jak on board) leaves the station.
   When Ryan and JB find out what's happened, they steal a couple horses and ride after the train, along with Mildred. Doc steals a pony and cart and takes Krysty at a more sedate pace.
   Ryan catches up to the train and hauls himself aboard, killing the guard on top of the last car. He helps JB and Mildred on, then they climb down into the cars. Some time later, the train stops again, enabling Doc and Krysty to get aboard. The companions make their way forward and finally find a sleeper car, where they take over a cabin, killing the occupant.
   At dawn, the train stops at a blocked bridge over a lake. The crew changes shifts and gets ready to move the blockage; Ryan and JB pass themselves off as construction workers to infiltrate the crew and find out what's going on. At the end of the gathering, they see a trio of sec men heading their way, so they duck into a car where a witch is chained; the place is full of hallucinogenic incense that knocks them out. The men call them stupid newbies and send them on their way.
   Having established their creds as part of the crew, Ryan and JB now have free rein to wander the train without too much trouble. They continue to look for Jak. At one point, they come to the armory car, where they're forced to kill the guard and the armorer and hide their bodies.
   Meanwhile, Jak wakes up to find himself in a cell with a bunch of children. He starts loosening the screws on the gate, waiting for an opportunity to escape.
   Later that day, while the train is stopped to check another tower, it's attacked by locals who had children taken. They fire a couple rockets, damaging several cars, but are driven off; three of them are taken prisoner and executed in horrific fashion.
   Adam, the project overseer, finds the bodies in the armory and sounds the intruder alarm. Ryan and JB are accosted by a group of sec men, but shoot their way free and keep going forward. They finally find Jak; as they're catching up with him, a guard walks in on them. He ducks back before they can kill him, raising the alarm. Ryan and JB go after him, then retreat as they're chased by another group of men. When they come by Jak's cage, he knocks the gate off; between the bunch of them, they kill all the men. JB falls through a hole in the wall created by the earlier attack, and Ryan and Jak get caught. Ryan is strapped to the front of the train, and Jak is returned to his cage.
   Jak is questioned by Adam and tells him that Ryan is his father - Ryan came on board to get his son back. JB slips back to the cabin and rejoins the others while a train-wide search is instituted; JB hides, the women manage to pass themselves off as prostitutes, and Doc pretends to be a scientist.
   A few days later, they arrive at an old Air Force base in Grand Forks. Everyone gets off, and the companions get to see the grand architect of the whole plan, Baron Burgess. The witch is brought off the train to the baron's dais, and she reveals that another among them has psionic powers - Krysty. It turns out the baron is also psionic - he's been using the towers to create a mind-control network. He overpowers her with his mind, and she blacks out.
   Mildred, meanwhile, is wandering around and spots Ryan at the front of the train. She gets him down and tends to his wounds. JB has been planting bombs on the train; long about this time, they go off, creating a huge distraction. The companions rush the podium, and Ryan and Krysty shoot Burgess at the same time, killing him.
   Unfortunately, he pulls an Obi Wan Kenobi, and his psyche becomes one with the network, overpowering everyone. Ryan fights through the influence, grabs a syringe of sedative, and plunges it into the tank of brain matter under the podium, putting Burgess to sleep permanently.
   With Burgess dead and the network disabled, most of his men disperse. The companions round up the children who have been captured and take them back to Fairburn.

DEATHLANDS, OUTLANDERS, EARTH BLOOD, and JAMES AXLER are all the property of Gold Eagle / Worldwide Library, and are used here strictly under Fair Use guidelines.
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